Luc Smeets of Mpac Langen looks at the link between pizza and the pandemic

LUC SMEETS, Product Manager at Mpac Langen examines the rise of popularity of the frozen pizza during the pandemic and how final packaging counts…

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on global health and the economy over the last year. At the peak of the pandemic, as quarantine or shelter-in-place orders came into effect, the packaged food industry experienced explosive growth as consumers rushed to stores and stockpiled packaged foods. One segment of the packaged food industry that has experienced growth unlike any it has seen before, is frozen foods. In particular, the frozen pizza industry.

The pandemic boosted consumption of shelf-stable foods, including frozen packaged foods. Not only did consumers stockpile those foods that have a long shelf-life, but they were also forced to cook at home more, in light of restaurants closing. More cooking meant more ingredients, and more shopping overall. Which in turn, resulted in an increase in demand for the frozen food industry. With current economic trends, the industry is stronger than it has ever been.

Pizza the Action

The global frozen pizza market is set to reach a value of USD 25.2bn by 2027, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc. Due to technological advances and the ability to react quickly to consumer trends, the frozen pizza industry is able to provide consumers with high-quality home versions of dishes most frequently seen on restaurant menus.  This level of innovation and product choice are key factors in attracting new, younger consumers to the category, whilst exciting traditional shoppers. Additionally, growing health consciousness amongst consumers has led to the launch of vegan-, gluten- and dairy-free product variants, which are gaining rapid popularity among consumers. Further innovation will ensure that frozen continues to be a key part of a consumers shopping repertoire.

Mpac Langen’s MAESTRO-c

Whilst variety and innovation are key to driving consumption amongst consumers, product variations could pose challenges when it comes to manufacturing, including final packaging.

With more consumers demanding higher-quality, innovative frozen pizzas that make them feel like they are having an away-from-home experience in the comfort of their own kitchens, manufacturers find themselves with no choice but to max out manufacturing lines. This continuous pressure can overwhelm standard cartoning machines. It’s never been more important to be flexible to ensure lines can adapt and continue to function at high speed.

Scalable Automation

A cartoner is one of the key elements in your packaging line. You need to not only understand speed, but also how many carton sizes you need to run, not just now but in the future too, alongside how it will minimise downtime, improve production and its overall impact on your whole line OEE. With the industry experiencing fast-changing priorities, there is a continuous need to ensure your operations are flexible enough to adapt and grow alongside your business. At Mpac Langen, we believe that it is important to find the right packaging automation machines for your needs. The ideal line for you may not be available off-the-shelf and customisation could be worth far more in the long term. We create a cost-effective and scalable packaging automation system that is ready to deliver the flexibility you need for your business.

Mpac Langen builds smart systems that never sleep, break speed barriers and smash OEE ceilings. Mpac Langen’s flexible cartoners rapidly adapt to keep lines flowing and foods frozen, with high speed cartoners that can effortlessly handle products of all shapes and sizes, regardless of quality and humidity, without compromising on productivity.

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